Index Peeling

Mandelic Peel

Mandelic peel is a superficial chemical peel. It acts on the upper horny layer of skin without affecting the translucent layer. Its main component is mandelic, 2-hydroxy-2-phenylacetic, or phenylglycolic acid which belongs to alpha-hydroxy (fruit) acids and is prepared by hydrolysis of bitter almond extract.

This acid diffuses into the skin tissues in significantly smaller amounts than other alpha-hydroxy acids, and this is why mandelic peel is considered one of the most sparing treatments, just like lactic peel. It is suitable for all skin types, including hypersensitive and delicate skin. Moreover, it can be used in summer since the risk of after-treatment hyper pigmentation is minimal.

Mandelic peel helps treating (indications):

1. Acne and rosacea;
2. Folliculitis;
3. Post acne and oily seborrhea;
4. Comedones (blackheads);
5. Minor expression wrinkles;
6. Skin cover imperfections;
7. Low skin tonus and tightness;
8. Pigment spots, freckles, uneven complexion;
9. Insufficient microcirculation in skin covering;
10. Enlarged pores.

This type of peel is also widely used to prepare skin for laser resurfacing and medium chemical peel since it has a bacteriostatic and anti-inflammatory effect.

There are several contraindications to mandelic peel:

1. Allergic reactions to any component of mandelic peel;
2. Open sores, abrasions, inflamed abscess on face;
3. Recurrence of herpes virus infection;
4. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays;
5. Heat;
6. Pregnancy and lactation.

Properties of Mandelic (Phenylglycolic) Acid:

1. Has a keratolytic (superficial exfoliating) effect. It loosens the upper layers of epidermis and sloughs off unneeded skin cells.
2. Lifting effect is achieved due to synthesis of collagen and elastin which activate cell regeneration and smoothing of minor wrinkles.
3. Has a bacteriostatic and anti-inflammatory effect, i.e. suppresses generation of bacteria due to structural similarity to antibiotic macrolides. Thus, the acid reduces the risk of skin cover contamination and inflammation.
4. Skin-whitening effect is achieved through removal of the horned layer; skin becomes smoother and lighter.
5. Cytoprotective (antioxidant) effect is achieved due to the blocking of free radicals and the ability to fix heavy metal ions. This means protection of skin cells from the negative influence of the environment.
6. Comedolytic effect is achieved by means of unblocking the openings of hair follicles and reducing the secretion and the sizes of sebaceous gland excretory ducts. Mandelic acid smoothens pores, treats sore acne with comedones, papulae and pustules, as well as gram-negative folliculitis and blackheads.

Advantages of Mandelic Peel:

Mandelic acid may be perfect for those with glycolic and retinoic acid intolerance, since all procedures with these acids are recommended for similar skin treatment (enlarged pores, acne, oily seborrhea, hyper pigmentation, signs of photo- and biological aging).
In comparison with other fruit acids, mandelic acid is less prone to cause such complication as post inflammatory hyper pigmentation.

In comparison with other alpha-hydroxy acid treatments, peels with phenylglycolic (mandelic) acid are better endured by patients due to lack of discomfort and pains.
Mandelic peel is possible in summertime because it has no photosensitizing effect and actively inhibits melanogenesis. However, you should adhere to cosmetician’s instructions and use sunscreen with minimal SPF 60 on a daily basis. So if you are not too keen on precautiousness, it is better to avoid peels in summertime.

Absence of edema and hyperemia is considered a significant advantage of mandelic peel. If after peels with other fruit acids you have to stay at home for a while, mandelic peel allows going out right away.
Mandelic acid peel can be applied on hands and décolleté.

Stages of Mandelic Peel:

1. Pre-Peel Treatment.
Almost all mandelic peel solution instructions recommend pre-peel treatment. During 7-14 days before the procedure, cream with 15% of phenylglycolic acid is applied in the evening to prepare the skin, i.e. to make it smoother and more receptive to mandelic peel. Some specialists advise to use a fruit acid peeling gel 2 or 3 times a week, in the morning, to enhance the effect of the cream. On the day of procedure and in the evening before it, cream and peeling gel are not used. 15% mandelic acid cream is applied in between the peels. It can also be used at home in a month after the treatment course.
If for some reason you have omitted pre-peel treatment but are eager to try mandelic peel, start with the minimal time of acid exposure after a sensitivity test. In this case, the treatment course is significantly prolonged to achieve a steady desirable effect.
Consult the aesthetic technician in advance before starting a course of mandelic peels so you will have time for correct pre-peel treatment.

2. Makeup Removal and Cleansing.
Makeup, if you have applied any on face and eyelashes, is removed in the clinic with cleansing lotions. Then, 10% mandelic acid cosmetic milk is used to cleanse the skin.

3. Toning-Up.
To clean off grease and tone up skin, aestheticians apply 10% mandelic acid tonic.

4. Pre-Peel.
To ensure better penetration of mandelic acid during the peel and to test skin sensitivity to the solution, cosmeticians apply pre-peel with 5% of phenylglycolic, glycolic and lactic acids on the skin of face and neck.

5. Peel.
Without washing off pre-peel, cosmetician applies mandelic acid (30%-60%) for 10-25 minutes (for the first peel, exposure time is reduced to 3-5 minutes). The time, the number of layers and the concentration is determined by aesthetic technician depending on the manufacturer's recommendations, sensitivity, color and type of skin, as well as on the tasks at hand. To solve some problems, other acids may be added to the solution.

For instance, lactic acid is added to remove minor wrinkles for après-thirty women. The action of acids will be directed at the regeneration of hydrophile-lipophile barrier, enhancement of skin's moisture-binding capacity, stimulation of collagen and elastin synthesis.
Citric acid is used for light whitening of skin, correction of sebaceous gland activity, pH regulation and skin regeneration after suntan.
Spirituous component is added to brighten the complexion and treat various forms of acne, seborrhea and folliculitis.

6. Neutralization.
The action of the solution is aimed at neutralizing mandelic acid abilities to exfoliate and decompose horned cells. The neutralizer is applied on face and then is carefully rinsed off with cool water. Depending on the manufacturer, acid concentration, pH, exposure time, number of layers applied and skin features, beautician can omit use of neutralizers and simply wash the face with water because mandelic peel is very light and sparing. It does not enter into a reaction with water.

7. Soothing and Moisturizing.
To complete the procedure, a soothing mask should be used (better if its composition comprises extracts of calendula, aloe and chamomile). Exposure time is about 20 minutes. After the mask, a post-peel moisturizer is applied.

8. Post-Peel Treatment at Home.
Post-peel treatment is one of the most important stages of peel. Its correctness ensures the final result and absence of complications.
Post-peel rehabilitation may include 1 or 2 salon procedures if your skin is very sensitive and problem-prone. Home treatment is also necessary.
Post-peel rehabilitation is aimed at:
- minimizing discomfort after the procedure;
- preventing inflammatory reactions;
- protecting skin from UV rays and negative exogenous factors;
- stimulating regeneration and active moisturizing of epidermis.

All respectable manufacturers offer solutions for special post-peel treatment. They can be purchased in the clinic where you have had peels. Post-peel solutions have a pronounced moisturizing, regenerating, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, soothing and vitaminizing effect.

Stages of Post-Peel Skin Treatment

1. Cleansing
Light cleansing cosmetic milk is used to remove skin debris.

2. Moisturizing and nourishing
Creams and gels with these positive effects are used in accordance with your skin type.

3. Protection
It is obligatory to apply sunscreen with minimal SPF 30 alongside with lotions and creams with bacteriostatic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Post-peel treatment is performed daily during 4 days after the peel. Its period can be prolonged depending on your skin's reaction to mandelic acid. After post-peel rehabilitation, pre-peel treatment is started all over again.
If for some reason, you have no access to post-peel treatment solutions, you can purchase analogous products in a drugstore. These include: raisin-seed oil, "SkinActiv" cream, "Vitamin F99" cream, Solcoseryl, Curiosin in liquid or gel, Bepanthen, Traumeel cream.
Mandelic peel is taken up in courses. One course comprises 6-10 procedures with intervals about 7-10 days. The cosmetician can alter this scheme depending on the individual characteristics of your skin. The course may be repeated in a year. In individual cases, one-time supporting procedures are possible but not earlier than in 2 months after the peel.

Mandelic peel. Photo before and after procedure

Complications that May Be Caused by Mandelic Peel:

1. Skin hyperemia (reddening caused by blood flow) during and after the procedure. It subsides after application of moisturizing cream for 30-60 minutes.

2. Stinging may appear during the procedure and subsides after application of moisturizing cream.

3. Skin may become too dry and tightened on the next day after the procedure. To remedy this consequence, use post-peel treatment solutions. They may be completed with cream or mask with collagen, lactic acid or algae extract. Then, apply oil-rich creams with hyaluronic acid, aloe extract, shea butter. And do not forget about sunscreens with minimal SPF 30.

4. Flaking is not regularly observed. It can appear on the 2nd or 3rd day after the procedure and lasts for 1-3 days.

5. Hyper sensitization is more widespread in people with delicate skin and low regeneration abilities. To get rid of it, use solutions comprising shea butter, oils of black currant seeds, auricula or raisin seeds, as well as omega 6, ceramides, phospholipids, waxes, hyaluronic acid, placenta extract.

6. Skin rashes are frequent consequences of incorrect post-peel treatment, hormonal disruptions, new makeup usage, gastro-intestinal tract diseases, disregard of contraindications, etc. It is important to determine the reason and then to undertake corresponding measures. For instance, try solutions that regenerate lipid barrier, improve trophism and tissue regeneration, have an anti-inflammatory and moisturizing effect.

7. Contamination may be caused by non-observance of aseptics and antiseptics during the procedure or by incorrect post-peel rehabilitation. Treatment includes antibiotic ointments, in serious cases – peroral therapy.

8. Post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation after mandelic peel course is very rare. It is connected with keratinocytes enhancing the synthesis of melanin-stimulating hormone. Prerequisites comprise: genetic predisposition, endocrine profile changes, UV exposure, inflammatory processes in skin. Treatment and removal of pigment spots should be conducted by a specialist. Cosmeticians use tyrosinase inhibitors, anti-inflammatory solutions, antioxidants, whitening solutions.

9. Herpetic infection. If you suffer recurrent herpetic infection twice a year or more often, you will need preventive therapy before peel. In case if rashes have already appeared, use Aciclovir or Valtrex once a day during 1-5 days until the rashes subside.

10. Pastosity and cutaneous edema are rarely observed on delicate skin areas (eyelids, neckline). They are treated with hormonal creams.

11. Allergic reaction can be caused by solution components. To prevent it, a sensitivity test before mandelic peel is a must. To treat the allergy that has already appeared, antihistamines and hormonal creams are used.

12. Burns can appear as a result of patient's individual skin characteristics or incorrect exposure time, as well as in case of changing the manufacturer of cosmetic products without receiving complete information about the produce. To prevent burns, mandelic acid should be first tested on small areas of skin. To remedy this complication, use products for burn treatment.


Once 30-minute procedure of Mandelic Peel costs from $95. If you order several procedures, the discount to 20% is usually provided.

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